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Lane County considering permanent shelter on Highway 99

The county is eyeing the 1.5 acre property north of Roosevelt Avenue for a low-barrier public shelter and is working with several partners, including the city of Eugene.

Posted: Dec. 4, 2018 11:02 AM
Updated: Dec. 4, 2018 6:55 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The site of a temporary homeless camp on Highway 99 could eventually become a permanent shelter, Lane County officials said.

Currently, Camp 99 occupies a portion of the 1.5-acre property the county is considering north of Roosevelt Avenue. Officials said the low-barrier public shelter would also include two existing buildings already owned by the county and a third building they are looking to buy.  

“Our long-term permanent vision is to create a pathway that connects people to a variety of options, from shelter to permanent, supportive and affordable housing,” Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky said. “A coordinated campus of services that includes food and shelter, as well as connections to mental and physical health, and housing and workforce services is key to creating an accountable system that ends the cycle of homelessness.”

The county said they are working with several partners, including the city of Eugene, as they look to transition Camp 99 into a Dusk to Dawn site.

Dayna Lucus, who lives at the camp, welcomes the idea.

"We are trying to get on our feet," Lucus said.  "People are trying to find jobs or get on SSI or have SSI and trying to get in housing, and it's not easy for them."

To date, 25 people have transitioned from Camp 99 to the existing Dusk to Dawn location operated by St. Vincent de Paul north of the temporary camp.

Officials said the new site would provide heating and consistent protection through the coldest months for up to 80 people. They said the Dusk to Dawn program ensures the safety and security of participants and is more accessible for people with disabilities. 

Bobby Patel, who owns a nearby motel, said he did not support the temporary shelter moving in next door and doesn't want there to be a permanent shelter either.

"It's a bad impression for my guests, and I'm losing revenue, so it's not good idea," Patel said. 

Mokrohisky said they don't know how much the shelter will cost or how they will fund it. Project leaders plan to update city and county leaders on Jan. 22. 

Camp 99 opened in late October as a temporary means to create a safer, healthier camping location for nearly 100 people who had previously been camping on the downtown Butterfly Lot. A curfew was recently placed on the downtown Eugene lot.

Crews from Eugene Public Works are currently working on constructing a temporary pedestrian crossing near Camp 99, and the city is planning on building a permanent crossing in 2020.

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